Editor’s Note: Two thousand years ago, the Lord Jesus said: “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). What is the true meaning of these words? What is true repentance? How can we achieve true repentance and enter the kingdom of heaven? Let us fellowship and explore them together.
The Lord Jesus said: “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). These words clearly tell us that the standard for entering the kingdom of heaven is to achieve true repentance. That is to say, only by truly repenting can we enter the kingdom of heaven. Some people think that as long as believers in the Lord admit that they are sinners, and confess before the Lord through prayer and ask for His forgiveness once they commit sins, then this is true repentance. Some other people think that practicing patience and tolerance in accordance with the Lord’s words, suffering and bearing a cross, doing many good deeds, and preaching and working for the Lord is true repentance, and that they will definitely enter the kingdom of heaven by doing so. Are these really the correct viewpoints? What did the Lord Jesus really mean when He said: “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17)? Let us search for answers in God’s words. God says: “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45). “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37–39). The Book of Revelation also prophesies: “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14). These verses show us that God is holy and that when God asks mankind to repent, He is referring to us being cleansed of our sins and no longer sinning to resist God. That is, only when our inner sinful natures have been cleansed, and we can practice and live by God’s words, no longer disobey or resist God, can rely on our love for God to expend ourselves for Him without the intention to make a deal, and do everything only to obey God and repay God’s love—loving God with all of our heart, mind and soul, can we become those who have true repentance and enter the kingdom of heaven.
Among us believers in the Lord, who has attained true repentance? No matter whether we confess and repent in word or work hard for the Lord, who has escaped the bondage of sin and no longer sin to resist God? There is not a single person. For example, the Lord taught us to be honest people and we know this requirement clearly, but in real life we often tell lies and cheat others for the sake of personal profit. Though we pray to the Lord, confess and repent, afterward the same problems occur; we lie without restraint as soon as we open our mouths once our own interests are affected. We live out nothing at all of the likeness of honest people. Besides, when God’s work doesn’t conform to our notions or when natural disasters and man-made calamities occur, we begin to speak words of blame, misunderstanding, rebellion and resistance, and use our suffering as capital to argue with God. Is this genuine repentance? The Lord required us to love God with all our hearts, minds and souls, but we labor and work for the Lord solely to gain blessings and enter the kingdom and get a reward. Though many people have worked and preached for many years, they never exalt and bear witness to God and instead do their utmost to make a show of how much work they’ve done and how much they’ve suffered to make people worship and follow them; they even form cliques, split the church and set their own independent kingdom. Is their labor considered loving and obeying God? Have they truly repented?
Obviously, no matter how many good deeds we appear to do, and no matter how many years we’ve worked hard, this simply doesn’t mean that we have genuine repentance. The Lord Jesus asked us to repent for the kingdom of God is at hand, which is to say, He required us to cast off the bondage of sin, no longer rebel against or resist God, but completely obey and fear God. Only such people can enter the kingdom of heaven. Because the kingdom of heaven is God’s kingdom where God reigns, those who always sin, and rebel against and resist God are certainly unworthy of entering the kingdom of heaven.
So then, how can we be totally free of the shackles of sin and achieve true repentance to enter God’s kingdom? The Lord Jesus prophesied long ago: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” (John 16:12–13). “He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). “Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth” (John 17:17). And 1 Peter 4:17 says: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” From these prophecies, we can see that when the Lord returns, He will do a stage of work of judgment and express the way of judgment to judge and purify mankind, and guide us into all truths so that we may be cleansed of our sins, truly repent and enter God’s kingdom. Therefore, accepting the Lord’s work of judgment when He returns in the last days is the only way to achieve true repentance and enter God’s kingdom.
Now the prophecies concerning the Lord returning to do the work of judgment have already been fulfilled and the Lord Jesus has returned as the incarnated Almighty God. Almighty God has expressed the truth of millions of words and launched the work of judgment beginning with the house of God to purify and save mankind so that man will completely escape the bondage of sin and attain true repentance to enter God’s kingdom. Let us first look at the words of Almighty God: “Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering; He did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to become the sin offering and bear the sins of man, but it also required God to do even greater work to rid man completely of his satanically corrupted disposition. And so, now that man has been forgiven of his sins, God has returned to the flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment. This work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and they shall gain the truth, the way, and the life.”
“Christ of the last days uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the substance of man, and to dissect the words and deeds of man. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the substance of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, the words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan, and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. All these different methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced about God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt essence and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the essence of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God.”
“By means of this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt essence within his own self, and he will be able to change completely and become clean. Only in this way can man become worthy to return before the throne of God.”
As can be seen from these words, what the Lord Jesus did was just the work of redemption which just forgave man his sins. But man’s corrupt dispositions have not yet been entirely expunged, and so in the last days, Almighty God has expressed the truth and done the work of judgment upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work. He does all this to cleanse and save man once and for all, put the truth into man, and make them into those who obey and worship God. Only by experiencing Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days, can our satanic dispositions be purified and changed, and can we truly repent and be brought into the kingdom of heaven by God. Those who don’t accept Almighty God’s work of judgment and purification in the last days will be unable to cast off their satanic corrupt disposition and will never attain cleansing and receive God’s eternal promise.
In the last days, Almighty God, through expressing various aspects of the truth, exposes our God-defying corrupt dispositions, such as those of arrogance, deceitfulness, evil, fiendishness and being sick of the truth. This enables us to see the truth of how deeply we are corrupted by Satan and at the same time, to know God’s righteous, holy and unoffendable disposition. Thus we come to fear God in our hearts and start to despise ourselves and truly repent to God. Then we pursue the truth and a change in disposition, and live according to God’s words and God’s demands. Gradually, we are able to free ourselves from the controls and restrictions of our satanic corrupt dispositions and truly repent.
Today, those who have accepted and experienced Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days have had their life disposition transformed to varying degrees and have born various testimonies of changing their life disposition. These experiences and testimonies have been published online for people all over the world to seek and investigate, and many of them have been adapted into videos, such as Amid the Trial of Death, God’s Salvation, Living Out a Bit of Human Likeness Sure Is Great, Reaping Joy Amid Suffering, and more. The facts make it known that Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days can indeed purify and save man. Only by accepting Almighty God’s judgment and chastisement by the word in the last days can we have our sins cleansed and become those who truly repent. This is the only path by which we can attain true repentance and enter the kingdom of heaven.
Editor’s Note: From the above fellowship, do you now understand the meaning of the Lord Jesus’ words: “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”? Have you now found the path to achieve true repentance? I hope that you will share this article with others if it has been helpful for you. If you have any further confusion, please feel free to contact us using the online chat buttons at the bottom. We are online 24 hours a day ready to answer your questions.